The water-extracted Touchi, a traditional Chinese food, exerted a strong inhibitory activity against rat intestinal alpha-glucosidase in foodstuffs. In borderline and developed diabetic subjects, 0.3 g of Touchi-extract (TE) significantly inhibited postprandial blood glucose levels. For confirmation of safety, 9 healthy subjects were given 1 g of TE before every meal (3 g/day) for 12 weeks. None indicated changes in hematological and relevant biochemical parameters, body weight or BMI. In a non-comparative study, 18 type-2 diabetic patients ingested 0.3 g of TE before every meal (0.9 g/day) for 6 months (mo). Blood glucose (mean; 9.31 +/- 0.71 mmol/L) and HbA(1c) (mean: 10.24 +/- 0.58%) levels gradually decreased, and significant effects were elicited on the blood glucose levels (8.61 +/- 0.66 mmol/L; p < 0.01) after 6 mo and HbA(1c) after 3 (9.13 +/- 0.43%; p < 0.05) and 6 mo (8.96 +/- 0.30%; p < 0.05) post-ingestion of TE. Indexes for serum lipids and total cholesterol level revealed moderate decreases with a slight increase in the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level after TE ingestion. However, triglyceride (TG) levels significantly decreased at 3 (p < 0.05) and 6 mo (p < 0.01) post-ingestion of TE. In this study, other biochemical parameters were not affected in any of the patients, and no one complained of any side-effects or abdominal distension. TE, exhibiting alpha-glucosidase inhibitory activity, demonstrated an anti-hyperglycemic effect and may prove useful for improving glycemic control in patients suffering from non-insulin-dependent diabetic mellitus.